The Republicans are still trying to find a credible opponent for Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) in 2012. Former Bush Deputy White House spokesperson and Bush-Cheney ‘04 Press Secretary, Scott Stanzel is considering it.
But I said “credible.”
And now Seattle Weekly’s Mike Seely writes:
…lately we’ve been hearing somewhat credible rumors that 8th District Congressman Dave Reichert might be up for abandoning his seat and challenging Cantwell. So is this chatter serious, or is there a stealthier factor at play here?
By “stealthier factor” he means that Reichert is using such rumors to leverage a more favorable redistricting outcome.
But what if Reichert’s motives are more pure? What would ensue would be a fascinating race between polar opposites: Cantwell, the wonkish brainiac who takes on issues of substance yet struggles with retail politics and staff retention, versus Reichert, the dull knife who gets by on Ken-doll looks, law-enforcement legend, and timely tacks to the center.
That would be fun! I like it. Reichert is, for sure, a stronger opponent for Cantwell than is Stanzel. But a Reichert challenge would accomplish two things. First, it opens up the Democratic-leaning 8th CD (which, of course, may be unrecognizable by 2012). Second, it means Republicans would dump lots of money into the race. Less so with Stanzel; Republicans would find more promising races upon which to spend their spoils.
This is Reichert’s big Window of Opportunity…but could he win?
In a statewide competition against an uberwonk, Reichert would not get away with his usual strategy of dodging all things substantive. He’ll have to speak in public and try to come off as intelligent and informed. No more “I’ve looked in a microscope and seen the heartbeat of a stem cell” moments; no more, “I don’t know enough about this issue, so I’ll pass on the question” answers like he gave in his 2006 debate against Darcy Burner. No more confessions of voting the way the leadership tells him to vote. The Cantwell campaign would eat him alive for such blunders.
So, no, he can’t. If Reichert sticks his head through that Window of Opportunity…he’ll get his freakin’ throat slit….